Local Black Stars bow out disappointingly

Ghana’s Local Black Stars bowed out of the 2011 African Nations Championship (CHAN) on a low note after losing 0-1 to Niger in their final Group B match in Wad Madany, Sudan on Sunday.

The Stars yet again failed to find their shine with substitute Gambo Tukur’s 88th minute effort sinking them to the bottom of the ranking with no point, which turned out to be their worst ever outing in recent times by a Ghanaian national team at major championships.

The Stars who needed at least a win for a magical turnaround into the last eight, however, failed when it mattered most losing to a very determined Niger team, who were debuting at a major continental championship.

Stars trainer Herbert Addo completely changed his starting line up handing starts to Awal Mohammed, Alfred Arthur, Hans Cofie, Bernard Don Bortey and Stephen Manu, but it was far from the solution to their ‘unfamiliar’ performance at the tournament earmarked for local-based footballers.

Midfielder Kwofie making his first start of the competition gave the packed crowd a teaser of what to expect in the early stages with an effort that brought the best out of Niger goalie Saminou Rabo.

The Menas responded through Sidibe Issa but Ghana’s keeper Sammy Adjei dealt with the effort coolly as both teams labored in search of their feet in the must win encounter, whilst eavesdropping on the result of the other game involving South Africa and Zimbabwe in Omdurman.

The best chance of the opening fell to Stephen Manu, the only surviving member of the 2009 squad, but his effort on a one-on-one situation once again brought out the best of Niger goalie Rabo, parrying the ball to safety to the surprise of all.

Both teams resumed the second half strongly but it was Niger coach Harouna Doula’s introduction of Tukur which served the turning point of the game as the Menas made clear their intent for the maximum points.

Few minutes later, Obed Owusu blew wide an opportunity at goal and the Nigeriens will teach him how to do that sooner than expected.

As the clock ticked on, central defender John Ashong was robbed of the ball by Tukur who chipped the ball over keeper Adjei two minutes from time for the only goal of the match. The Menas held unto victory to reach the quarters after South Africa beat Zimbabwe 2-1 in the other game.

The Stars, losing finalists at the maiden edition, loss all three games and are bound for Accra in the next few hours.

Source: GNA

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